MDC’s Runge Nature Center announces April programs

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City has a full schedule of programs planned for April. Some programs require registration in advance, so MDC Nature Center Assistant Manager Becky Matney encourages guests to familiarize themselves with MDC’s event website for the nature center at  

Unless otherwise noted, all registration opens April 1 for all programs.

April programs at the nature center will include:

  • Missouri Turkey Calls and the Artists Behind Them
    Thursday, April 4, 6-7 p.m. – all ages
    Turkey calls are both utilitarian and works of art. Explore unique designs from the Missouri Ozarks and the artists behind them. 
    Registration required at
    * Early registration – now open
  • Outdoor Cooking
    Saturday, April 6, 1-4 p.m. – ages 12+
    Slow down and learn how to cook in a Dutch oven – a versatile and historic way to prepare food. Runge will provide all ingredients, cookware, and expertise; participants will help make main dish and desserts. Bring an interest, enthusiasm and an appetite!
    Registration required at
  • Intro to Spring Fishing
    Thursday, April 11, 6-8 p.m. – all ages
    Learn from experts about how to target crappie and smallmouth bass. Presentations will cover fishing gear, demonstrations, and even favorite fishing holes!
    No registration required
    More information at
  • Discover Nature: Birding @ Runge
    Thursdays, April 11, 18, 25, 7:30 a.m. – ages 10+
    Join MDC naturalists and area birders as we discover the avian life that call Runge home. Short birding walks are for all experience-level birder. Binoculars and field guides will be provided for those who need them.
    No registration required
    More information at
  • Discovery Hike: Signs of Spring
    Saturday, April 13, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. – ages 8+, children accompanied by a registered adult
    Meet at Runge and carpool to Binder Lake where we will discover some of the flowers, migrating birds, and other signs of spring. Dress for the weather and bring water, snacks, and binoculars.
    Registration required at
  • Smoke & Fire: History and Legend of the Longrifle on the American Forntier, 1754-1850
    Thursday, April 25, 6-7:30 p.m. – all ages
    No other single object in the American experience has as much history, legend, or lore associated with it. Explore the history and contemporary use of the longrifle.
    Registration required at
    * Early registration – now open
  • Adventure Birding: Jewels of the Bird World
    Saturday, April 27, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. – ages 15+
    Meet at Runge and carpool to Prairie Garden Trust, which is known for its wonderful birding in the spring. It is a popular stopover for many very colorful migrants. Dress for the weather and bring water, snacks, and binoculars.
    Registration required at
  • Nature Art: John Nilsen in Concert
    Saturday, April 27, 7-9 p.m. – all ages
    Join us for a magical night of nature and music. Oregon Pianist John Nilsen will play music inspired by nature with a backdrop of photography by MDC’s own Noppadol Paothong.
    No registration required
    More information at

Nature center guests can conveniently manage program registration online at The first step in registering for a program is creating a profile, then signing up for future programs is simple. Once someone creates a profile and registers for an event, they will receive details about programs they’ve registered for.

Sign up for email and/or text updates from Runge Nature Center and other conservation news at

Events at Runge Nature Center are free thanks to the one-eighth of 1 percent conservation sales tax. Runge Nature Center, located at 330 Commerce Drive in Jefferson City, is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.; and Thursday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Trails at the nature center are open every day, 6 a.m. – 9 p.m. 

For more information about events at Runge Conservation Nature Center, visit, or call the nature center at (573) 526-5544.